This year I have been part of a small discussion group with 3 other Sustainable Communities members on the topic of Systems Change – this rather dry academic term has been the basis of several fascinating and wide ranging discussions on the root causes of current ecological and social problems we are faced with as well as possible methods to bring about more strategic and coordinated responses to these problems. We have also been delving deeper into our motivations and intentions for being active in environmental groups such as Sustainable Communities SA with consideration to the role of personal opinions and behaviours in causing system change.
One of the areas I have explored as part of these discussions is our interdependence on this planet – we are a part of, and totally dependent on, this planet for our life. In response to mounting ecological catastrophes movements such as Deep Ecology and Ecocentrism have been developed espousing the inherent worth and sacredness of all living beings regardless of their instrumental utility to human beings. While Joanna Macy, Charles Eisenstein and others speak about the imperative need to reconnect with the world around us. Sustainable Communities SA focuses on rebuilding human communities but perhaps we need to expand our horizon to include non-human communities as well?
“In the beginning, we were told that the human beings who walk about the Earth have been provided with all the things necessary for life. We were instructed to carry a love for one another, and to show a great respect for all the beings of this Earth. We are shown that our life exists with the tree life, that our well-being depends on the well-being of the Vegetable Life, that we are close relatives of the four-legged beings…
When people cease to respect and express gratitude for these many things, then all life will be destroyed, and human life on this planet will come to an end.”
from A Basic Call to Consciousness made by The Haudenosaunee to the UN (1977)